And the Devil Said to Him

Even Jesus needed trials.

Luke 4:1-13 (ESV)

And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’” And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” And Jesus answered him, “It is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.’”

And he took him to Jerusalem and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written, “‘He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you,’ and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”

And Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time.

Jesus being hungry at the end of a 40 day fast means that the fast has become life threatening. This isn’t some minor test; Jesus is really being taken to the mat.

What’s the point? Why is Jesus being put through this? We get two hints in Hebrews.

For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. – Hebrews 2:18

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. – Hebrews 4:15

He learned and grew from this. It’s striking that Jesus needed this kind of disciplining. He is without sin, not to mention infinitely smart and wise. Yet this training adds something. This could even be part of the purpose of incarnation – since he obviously couldn’t do this without it.

Remember that the next time you’re stuck in something really harsh.

Even Jesus needed trials.

As we see here, discipline need not be punishment for wrongdoing. The greatest discipline is often reserved for the greatest saints.

This is a crucial lesson to keep handy for when tough times come. When you’re in the thick of things, it’s hard to think of anything else other than surviving.

But always remember that trials have a purpose, and try to see your way through to the endpoint.

Then you can reap the full benefit God had in mind when He sent you into those trials.

The weekly study guides, which include discussion questions, are available for download here:

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.